Coroner's pledge after English teacher Clive Francis jumped to death from Kent and Canterbury Hospital window
English teacher Clive
Francis fell to his death from a hospital window
by Jamie Bullen
A coroner will write to the Department for Health about
psychiatric care in hospitals after a man jumped to his death from
a window at Kent and Canterbury Hospital.
East Kent coroner Rebecca Cobb made the pledge during the
closing stages of an inquest into the death of Clive Francis, who
died in June 2008, aged 35.
The English teacher, of Shaftesbury Road, Canterbury, jumped
from a top floor window two days after his sister admitted him to
the hospital because of fears for his mental health.
He had ignored desperate pleas from nurses who attempted to grab
him before he fell four storeys into the hospital courtyard.
During the five-day inquest, the court heard Mr Francis had
become increasingly paranoid while awaiting radiotherapy treatment
for a rare brain tumour.
Now a jury has delivered a verdict of "suicide while
the balance of his mind was disturbed" at the hearing at the
Guildhall in Sandwich.
Clive Francis with his
sisters Helen Smith, centre, and Lynn Chilcott
Mrs Cobb will be making a rule 43 report to the Department for
Health. Rule 43 of the Coroners Rules 1984 provides coroners with
the power to "make reports to a person or organisation where the
coroner believes action should be taken to prevent future
Mr Francis' sisters Lynn Chilcott and Helen Smith worked with
the East Kent University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust for 18
months after their brother's death and have overseen a raft of
changes at the Ethelbert Road hospital.
The hospital now has a psychiatric service on the grounds and
adopts a new referral system for nurses to request mental health
assessments if they are concerned about patients' wellbeing.
The sisters hope their work will now be introduced into other
hospitals across the country.
Lynn said: "We are pleased that the coroner has said she will be
making a report so that some other NHS trusts across the UK will
hopefully look at their practices and potentially make changes so
that the holistic care of patients is better afforded to them.
"We will await the coroner’s letter and the response from the
appropriate body and if that doesn't meet our wishes we will look
to continue to write our own letters and try to make the changes
that we think patients and people of this country
Clive Francis plunged
from a window at the Kent and Canterbury Hospital
Helen said: "Clive was an amazing person. He was very
intelligent, quick-witted and funny.
"He used to make us laugh a lot. He was very keen on music and
he used to play the guitar a lot which was one of the saddest
things with his brain tumour that he wasn't able to.
"He loved travelling. He went to Prague and lived there for four
years. I think it just shows his kind of spirit that after
interrailing he fell in love with Prague, saved up his money and
decided to move there spur of the moment."
Mrs Cobb's report will be submitted in the New Year.
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